Back in 1987 or so, I was with a friend in Dallas, Texas attempting as best as I could to help him move residences. Aside from driving, I wasn’t entirely enthused about the task of moving heavy items around during the winter time, if ever. But as soon as we had a moment to sit back and have something to eat, we headed to a café for lunch.
I ordered a chicken sandwich that was listed on the menu, only asked that it NOT include the tomato. To my friend’s wonderment, he peered from the other side of his menu and asked, “what is it about the tomato that you don’t like?” While I pondered his question, his curiosity continued “is it the color, texture, taste, consistency, shape?” I had no answers for him, I just figured that since my mother liked them so much I must organically not.
I ordered the chicken sandwich as designed by the chef and instantly became a fan, amazed by my own lack of knowledge to understand why I had refused entry of this food into my casual dietary landscape. Turns out, that decision was a great one and I haven’t looked back. I have been a fan since and it’s a good thing I tried something “new”.
And while I’m on the subject of the tomato, I may have even classified the tomato incorrectly at the time of this little quiz with my friend’s. So to avoid any embarrassment to anyone who is reading this article and finds themselves on Jeopardy! or during a debate about food, a tomato apparently is in fact a fruit and a vegetable (which I don’t really believe but let’s just go with it). Whatever your beliefs, tomatoes are contained in plethora of cuisines across the globe and in various stages of use. Ketchup, sauces of all types, beverages (not a fan), yogurt (big fan if done well) all have tomato participation. Consuming them helps in sustaining yourself but tending to their growth can help calm us down a bit (until of course they get to the terrible 2’s).
The Benefits Might Outweigh the Taste
How was I so not enlightened when faced with a simple question. Imagine all the years prior to that moment, I had been dipping my French fries in ketchup and shading the core substance up until that time.
According to various studies, health aficionados and tomato followers, there are lots of reasons to encourage the tomato to be a more active participant in my meals. The health benefits of tomatoes include eye care, good belly health, and also may be a factor in reducing blood pressure. They provide relief from skin issues, diabetes, and urinary tract infections too. I have read that digestion is improved, blood flow circulation enhanced and stimulated. There are even studies around reducing cholesterol levels, protect our kidneys, detoxify the body, prevent premature aging, and reduce inflammation. Tomatoes consist of a large number of antioxidants that have been determined to battle some forms of cancer. There’s lots of vitamins and minerals in those slices of tomato that have shown to provide additional boost in the effect against cardiovascular diseases.
Although I could list a multitude of specific vitamins and minerals contained in the tomato and why those substances are important for our human bodies to function more efficiently, I will leave those fun facts to Wikipedia, WebMd, Dr. Oz and a whole host of other healthy benefit websites and Food Network Shows. These sources will help solidify why like me, you should including them on your chicken sandwich. Even if it is a “fried” chicken sandwich, you could feel better that a tomato was right there to help you fight all these reasons fried is not our friend.
In the end, I found out that I indeed love tomatoes, texture, color, shape, size, taste in all varieties. If you find yourself in a pickle about the tomato, ask yourself the same question my friend did on that fateful lunch break.
Eat them organically when possible. Que the sigh here, but let’s face facts, the closer you can get them grown and eaten without a bunch of extra chemical ingredients the better off you are. You’ll do yourself a favor and help save the earth. If you don’t believe that’s fine, but I’m from California, so I have to include organic in just about every other sentence I write.